On November 5, 2013, Sue Hodges Regan lost her battle with lung cancer. The former dance instructor had fought the disease three times during her life. To pay her bills, Ms. Regan was dependent upon her monthly social security check. She lived on a fixed income, relying solely on social security.
After Ms. Regan passed away, her October social security check was deposited with her bank. It posted on November 13, 2013. The bank, Arlington Federal Credit Union, sent the check back to the Social Security Administration since Ms. Regan had since passed away. Now, Ms. Regan’s son, Clay Regan, a police detective and Air Force reservist, is fighting for that last payment. Mr. Regan states that his goal is to fight for people who do not have the same financial means that he has, but find themselves in a similar situation. For these people, that last social security check may be their only means to pay for the burial of their loved one, or other expenses relating to settling their estate.
The bank, in its defense, states that it believes the situation was handled properly. The bank returned the funds to the Social Security Administration. Mr. Regan must now attempt to get the Social Security Administration to remit the money to Ms. Regan’s heirs. Mr. Regan notes that this unnecessary process creates additional stress and hardship during an already difficult time.
While unfortunately a bank’s choosing to return funds to the Social Security administration is fairly common, the law in this area is clearly spelled out on the Administration’s website. Benefits are not paid for the month in which an individual dies, unless the individual lived for the entire month. For the previous month, however, those amounts are still owed.
Learn more about the rules surrounding Social Security benefits in Houston. Call our office today at (214) 373-3761.
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by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.